Drafting the Circuits

Formula 1 Report

British Grand Prix

By Steve Aibel


Lewis Hamilton won his 3rd British Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England. Difficult conditions, a strong Williams showing, and some unpredictable rain in the second half of the race led to what was perhaps the most exciting Grand Prix of the season. Hamilton won his 38th Formula 1 Grand Prix. The 3rd victory in England ties him with Jack Brabham, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher for British Grand Prix victories.

Hamilton extended his championship lead to 17 points

Hamilton extended his championship lead to 17 points

Nico Rosberg took second position and Sebastian Vettel placed third. Although this podium combination has occurred 6 times already this season, this was nothing like the dominant performances we have seen from Mercedes or Ferrari throughout the season.

140,000 people held tickets for the British event and over 3 days, 350,000 racing fans were expected for the Grand Prix weekend. The sizable Silverstone crowd saw Hamilton extend his championship lead to 17 points over teammate Nico Rosberg. With a formidable challenge from both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas of Williams, Hamilton had to battle the triple threat of Williams, Rosberg and the weather.

Lewis Hamilton's 3rd win at the British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton’s 3rd win at the British Grand Prix

In the end, Hamilton managed them all with a wise and confident drive to the checkers!

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas got the lights just right and vaulted the Mercedes drivers at the start. With Massa leading and Bottas providing a buffer, the Mercedes ran 3 and 4 for the majority of the first stint in the race. Unable to find a way past the Williams entries, Lewis Hamilton undercut Massa and Bottas, pitting first of the lead pack drivers. Hamilton’s early pit caused Rosberg, and the two Williams drivers to stop. Once everyone emerged from the pit lane, Hamilton had taken the lead followed by Massa, Bottas and Rosberg.

It may have been a different story had Bottas been able to get by Massa in the early stages of the race. Bottas appeared to have more pace, but his inability to move forward on his teammate probably slowed both of them down and allowed Hamilton to stay close enough to undercut through savvy pit sequencing.  Had Bottas been able to overtake Massa, he thought he would have been able to stretch the gap and retain the lead that Hamilton grabbed through pit strategy.

Williams battled Mercedes at the front until rain dropped them back to P4 and P5

Williams battled Mercedes at the front until rain dropped them back to P4 and P5

Williams fortune only went from bad to worse when rain arrived in the second half of the race. Off and on showers during the latter potion of the Grand Prix had teams scrambling to predict the amount of water that would fall on the track. The Williams FW37, with its low drag set up, struggled compared the Mercedes entries and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. It was the lack of pace in the rain that dropped the Williams pair to 4th and 5th position…a bit of a disappointment for Williams. Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, timed his pit strategy perfectly, switching to intermediate tires and vaulting him from a top ten finish to a third place podium.

While the Williams were struggling in the rain and losing position, Hamilton made the clutch call in timing his pit stop for intermediates rain tires. Nico Rosberg thought that Hamilton had pitted too early, but the strategy paid off for him. This gave the see-saw momentum back to Hamilton going into the Hungarian Grand Prix in three weeks.

Red Bull improved pace this week with an upgraded package

Red Bull Racing brought to Silverstone an updated package, which resulted in stronger pace and qualifying efforts of 7th and 10th for Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo respectively. Kvyat had the race pace that he felt would have taken him to a podium finish had he not spun in the rain on his in-lap as track conditions worsened. Kvyat recovered to finish in 6th position behind the Williams of Massa and Bottas. Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten points scoring positions.

Sahara Force India's Spec B Chassis secured double points in its debut outing.  Note the nostril like intakes along the nose.

Sahara Force India’s Spec B Chassis secured double points in its debut outing. Note the nostril like intakes along the nose.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso scored points for the first time this season and only the second time for McLaren this year. Teammate Jenson Button was scrubbed in the opening lap after being speared by Alonso who was trying to avoid the collision between the two Lotus drivers, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

Hamilton’s race record is outstanding in Hungary with four race victories in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014. His dominance in the second portion of the season last year, puts him in great position at this point of the championship. Rosberg, however, is also at the top of his game and driving extremely well. Expect to see this championship battled week in and week out for the rest of the year.


Drivers’ Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton  194
  2. Nico Rosberg     177
  3. Sebastian Vettel 135
  4. Valtteri Bottas       77
  5. Kimi Raikkonen    76
  6. Felipe Massa        74
  7. Daniel Ricciardo   36
  8. Daniil Kvyat          27
  9. Nico Hulkenberg   24
  10. Romain Grosjean 17
  11. Felipe Nasr           16
  12. Sergio Perez         15
  13. Pastor Maldonado 12
  14. Max Verstappen    10
  15. Carlos Sainz Jr.       9
  16. Marcus Ericsson     5
  17. Jenson Button        4
  18. Fernando Alonso    1

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Mercedes           371
  2. Ferrari                211
  3. Williams             151
  4. Red Bull               63
  5. Force India          39
  6. Lotus                   29
  7. Sauber                21
  8. Toro Rosso         19
  9. McLaren               5
  10. Manor/Marussia   0